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Shakespeare Hospice launch appeal with message: ‘Our help is available wherever it’s needed’

FAMILIES who have been in the unfortunate position of needing the care of the Shakespeare Hospice will know this – they will do anything they can to help support a patient in their final weeks, days and hours.

And that includes providing that care at a patient’s home – wherever (and indeed, whatever) that may be. Even a narrowboat.

A new fundraising campaign by the Shottery-based hospice highlights how the team goes to extraordinary lengths to ensure patients – and their families – get the support and care they need.

Jim was able to stay at home with his family.
Jim was able to stay at home with his family.

WhereverTheyCallHome tells the story of a patient called Jim, who was supported by the hospice after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2021.

Jim, his wife Julie, and their two young children lived on a narrowboat.

By 2022, Jim’s treatment was no longer working, his GP referred him to the hospice and he asked to receive end-of-life care at home, on his narrowboat.

Sarah Perry, an occupational therapist with the hospice, visited Jim and arranged for him to have a wheelchair, so he could get from his boat to a car.

“Jim was a strong, determined man who did as much as he could for as long as he could,” said Sarah.

A children and family support practitioner met with Jim’s children to provide much-needed emotional support, including one-to-one sessions.

As Jim’s condition worsened, the Hospice at Home team visited Jim daily to help him manage his symptoms and arranged for him to have his medication so that it would not impact his time with his children and he could read to them each night.

Jim died on his narrowboat in September last year, five weeks after his 49th birthday.

Hospice workers Sarah Perry, left, and Mel Clifford.
Hospice workers Sarah Perry, left, and Mel Clifford.

His wife Julie said: “The support I received from the hospice nurses was invaluable. They were amazing and not once did they complain about walking down a muddy towpath.

“They took the time to listen and really worked hard to ensure Jim did things his way right up until the end. The support for the children has been incredible.”

Jim and his loved ones are one of many families the hospice will support each year with specialist care in the knowledge that they cannot change the outcome for the patient, but they can be there to ease anxieties, help manage symptoms and allow them to die with dignity in the place of their choice.

The hospice cannot do this without the public’s support.

Mel Clifford, day hospice team leader, added: “The Shakespeare Hospice has been caring for patients like Jim, and their loved ones, across south Warwickshire for almost 25 years – wherever they call home. It is only thanks to the generous support we receive from our community that we can support families like Jim’s.”

“But we must continue to seek support. The hospice’s operational costs have been impacted by the cost-of-living crisis and we now need to raise even more money in order to continue providing essential care to those who need it most. Regular gifts provide funding we can rely on and help us to support patients and their loved ones now and in the years ahead.”

To help the Shakespeare Hospice continue to care for patients and families from around the Stratford district, visit here where you can learn about becoming a regular donor.

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